“I’m Not Lost. Owner Out Surfing” (A memoir)

A thick layer of fog rested over the beach when we went out. The waves appeared out of the greyness of the fog right before crashing onto the beach. It was mesmerizing. There weren’t many people around. Given the weather it wasn’t surprising. It was still and grey that morning.

A small dog appeared out of the mist quite suddenly. His silhouette in the near distance looked much larger than he really was and we tried to steer our dogs away. He was a curious little one and trotted over to us, sniffing the air and at our dogs’ feet, never getting too close. His movements were cautious.

His fur was stiff and dirty with sand from his time on the beach. We waited a moment to see if his owner would emerge from the mist to claim him. It wasn’t unusual to for people to let their dogs roam along on the beach. A little freedom in the salty air.

The dog seemed to grin at us his with bright eyes. The fur was long on his muzzle, making it look like he had a moustache. It was impossible to tell his age; his fur was too dirty to tell if he had any flecks of grey on his muzzle. He looked well-fed and had an old collar around his neck.

No owner came. We didn’t think much of it. Perhaps he belonged to one of the houses along the beach. Or perhaps his owner would appear sooner or later.

His collar had a tag on it that read “I’m not lost. Owner out surfing.” It was such a simple little explanation. Of course, at this time of day and with fog so thick, no sane person would risk surfing Northern California waters.

The pup scampered away as we walked down the beach. I felt strangely sad. I wanted to help him—rescue him. But he wasn’t lost. His owner was just out surfing.
Not long after he disappeared into the fog behind us, the sun began to break through the thick clouds.